Build or Buy Dining Room Table?

Hey all,
We sold our 6ft pine retangular dining table, and have been shopping around for new ones. The only one we REALLY like is a DINEC table. It is about 7ft long and then extendes to around 10 or 11ft. We need to seat 10 people comfortably, with the option to seat 12. The problem with this table is that it will take 4 months to come in and the cost is around $1200-1300. So, I have to ask myself, would it be cheaper to build and have some of that $$$ go towards tools?
I haven't built anything that large yet so I was wondering what do you think it would cost to build something just like the dintec and how hard would it be?? I have a tablesaw, router/rtr table, random orbital sander, jig saw. No planer, jointer, belt sander. I was thinking about building it with ask or oak, or someother hardwood that we can stain a chocolate/coca color. The table would be in the simple shaker style, with a retangular top, straight apron, taperd legs, and two or three extensions.
Any advice would be AWESOME!
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How do you spell "tool buying opportunity"?
Yeah baby! here is how I would spend that $1200
Planer: $300 Jointer $400 Router bits $75 (perhaps a nice big bit for the edge profile ) Fuzzy board math: 10'x40" top = 33sf x 1.25 (5/4 stock)= 42bf + Apron and legs(35bf) = 75 + waste 0bf x$3/bf $300 rough-cut oak (really rough estimate) $50 finishing supplies $50 Bouquet for table $25 Case of decent beer
Knowing you did it yourself: Priceless
BTW, not having a belt sander is probably a good thing. You will eventually get one, and the first time that you use it, you will know why.

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Hey Shawn!
I say build it. If you screw it up; call it practice and you get a styling assembly table for your shop and try again. I am in the process of trying to convince SWMBO that I need two need D-Handle routers to dedicate to the Leigh Dovetail Jig that I got off ebay. I will let everyone know how it goes. Lately her complains haven't been about me getting tools it has been that there hasn't been enough sawdust made.
Good Luck and build it.
Chef
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Several thoughts.
1) You probably can't build it cheaper than you can buy it if you compare to the low-end. At $1200, it doesn't sound like you're looking at the low-end, though. But if you take into account the amount of time, the tools, and possible wasted wood it will take to learn to build it, I doubt you'll come close to breaking even. Of course, the same can be said for anything I do with wood and tools. :)
2) There's nothing saying you can't do it all by hand (i.e. don't purchase the jointer/planer, which is where I'd think you'd want to start). Of course, you better be prepared for a physical workout, and learn to sharpen your hand planes real good!
3) I find it personally offensive that you'd take a wood like ash (hopefully that's what you meant) or oak, and then stain it to basically match walnut. If you want a nice rich dark color, start with a wood that's already that color. J/K on the personally offended, BTW, but I really do like walnut as a wood, and find it particularly attractive when simply oiled. For a table, you'd need more protection than that, I would think. I think I like walnut so much because it reminds me of chocolate, especially when hand planing it, and you see all those lovely curly shavings on the floor. Around here, the price difference between oak and walnut is pretty negligible.
4) If you do choose to make it, do some looking around at cabinet shops, wood-working shops, etc in your area, and see if any of them can do the belt sanding for you. Might cost you $100 or so, but much cheaper than buying your own sander, especially if it's something you're not going to use on a regular basis.
Clint (who has never built a dining room table in his life, danced on one or two, and eaten at many...)

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On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 07:48:01 -0800, Shawn wrote:

You mention cost. If you are going to build a table, do it because you want to, not because of cost. Let the table be an artistic expression of your creativity.
You will be pleased at every meal.
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That really depends on your wife's cooking!! :)

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On 14 Jan 2004 07:48:01 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Shawn) wrote:

Depends on what you spend on the timber, and how much tooling you have to buy.
I could build one for that price, I could even sell you one for that price, but I'm not sure about outfitting a workshop from scratch and building one. It all depends on how you choose to make it (tables have a huge range of potential complexity) and that timber budget.
Tables are hard. They're big, they're obvious, they highlight errors and they eat up top-grade timber. Before doing a dining table, I strongly suggest making yourself a small table from the same timber, roughly the same joinery, and the same finish.
Learn how to make a table top, and that includes learning how to deal with timber movement.

Look at a lot of styles before you jump. You're going to be living with this for a long time. _Why_ do you like a Shaker table you've seen ? What is the feature that attracts you ? Are there also other styles that treat it the same way ?
Personally I'm not a big fan of large Shaker tables. I don't like the way they did legs. Functional and plenty of legroom, but I don;t liek the look of the central columns. Sounds like you're going for "leg at each corner" anyway ? Another leg design to look at for a big table would be a Barnsley hay-rake (English, 1920s) http://www.artsandcraftsmuseum.org.uk/movement/tech1.asp

Buy Tage Frid's two books (three volumes) on cabinetmaking.
The first one is a well-known guide to the techniques of furniture making. <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
The second is less often recommended, because it's nothing like as useful. Two chapters that are worth having though are the workbench design, and (especially in your case) the best explanation I've seen of the many and varied ways to make expanding tabletops. <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
-- Do whales have krillfiles ?
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On 14 Jan 2004 07:48:01 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Shawn) wrote:

You're asking us? <G>
BUILD! Even if it costs double, it'll be _yours_. <G>
Barry
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